People (ex rel. Leacock) v. NYS Dept. of Corrections & Comm. Supervision

BRONX COUNTY
Criminal Practice

New York Law Journal

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Justice Richard Lee Price

Inmate Leacock moved by writ of habeas corpus to vacate her parole warrant and release her from Department of Corrections and Community Supervision's (DOCCS) custody. She claimed due process violations based on the re-litigation of parole revocation issues before a new hearing officer (HO). The initial HO concluded DOCCS was unable to establish that Leacock failed to report to her approved residence at Palladia as instructed without providing testimony from a Palladia counselor that Leacock left Palladia. The HO rescheduled the preliminary hearing, but due to her unavailability another HO was assigned and a hearing was held de novo. The new HO found probable cause Leacock failed to report, deeming her an absconder in violation of the conditions of her release. Leacock argued the new HO was bound by the first HO's decision that testimony from a Palladia counselor was required to establish the charged violation. She claimed the de novo hearing without a Palladia counselor constituted improper "judge-shopping" by DOCCS. The court disagreed, rejecting both claims, and initially noted DOCCS does not choose the HO, concluding that as both hearings were held within 15 days of the warrant's execution, there were no due process violations. Thus, the writ was denied.

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